Griffo secures funds to help protect local defense assets

Sen. Joseph A. Griffo

Sen. Joseph A. Griffo, R-47, Rome, has secured funding that will support a regional public-private sector partnership to help the region develop pro-active steps to tell the success stories of the Department of Defense installations in the region, including the Air Force Research Laboratory.

Griffo said $100,000 will go to the Griffiss Local Development Corp. and $25,000 to the Central New York Defense Alliance, both based in Rome.

"Two things are very clear...The latest round of budget discussions in Washington has produced the potential for a fiscal climate where every installation needs to be able to tell the story of its success and every region needs to be prepared to make a fact-based case when and if questions are asked about realigning Department of Defense assets," Griffo said. "At a time when economic activity has been struggling, the existing defense-related assets, including EAS, DFAS, ROME Lab, and the millions of dollars in contracts and services generated by the presence of the Lab at Griffiss Park, are all vital to our regional economy and must be protected. I see this investment as a step to enhance and grow Department of Defense assets by showing that existing projects here are successes and that the region should be a hub for growth."

Griffo said he supports a pro-active effort to bring partners together and develop the region’s case, and not take the sort of defensive actions that would follow a Base Realignment and Closure Commission or other official steps from Washington.

"The three tenets of my approach are to be positive, to promote growth based on existing success and to keep the people and all of our officials informed," he said. "The federal assets in our region have some great stories to tell, and our job is to be sure that the stories are told to the policymakers in Washington and that everyone in our region is fully aware of these success stories. Not only are these facilities very important to our local economy, they are important to the federal government and are best left to grow and increase their efficiency. Breaking up operations that perform well would be disastrous for our region and for the efficiency of the Department of Defense. That’s the story we need to tell, and one that takes time, effort and resources to tell properly."

Griffo said his experience with successful efforts to stave off closures makes it important to start early.

"The informal discussions that have been taking place among a number of partners now need to move to the next level," he added. "When you go from talk to action, you need resources. The funding I have secured moves us to the next level."